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Camera Serial Number Graphs


By Ed Johnson


These Production Graphs are the results of a fairly long and tortured hobby horse of a project. It all started with the standards and an attempt to apply available serial numbers into a basic product lifetime statistical model. Though that did not work out perfectly, it did start a research process that eventually yielded an accurate list of Serial numbers to years for the three most common models: Standards/GC's, BNC's and NC's.

In the case of the Standards and GC's, it soon became apparent that the numbering of these cameras all fell into a complete sequence from 1920 onwards to the end in the 1970's. As such, it became apparent that Mitchell considered all these cameras to be the same basic camera with merely slight variations - not different models. Physical proof of that fact is my GC #1167 that currently operates and functions correctly sitting on an early #256 Warner Brothers "L" base. As a supplication to those who will decry as heresy labeling these all as "Standards" on the registry page we note the variations as a camera style.

As noted in at the top of the graphs, these serial numbers will occasionally differ from the actual sales dates as some cameras sold before others based on special features needed on some cameras. It was decided early in the process to overlook the few anomalies in favor of a linear more logical progression as the differences were normally less than a few months into the next year.

A number of individuals with access to parts of those records provided much aid at the end of my research to steer me through places where logic did not apply. Credits to the following people and organizations who contributed and vetted these graphs: Richard Bennett of Cinema Engineering, Alan Gordon Enterprises, Mark Polito, and others who wished to not be named at this time but know of my appreciation. Ed Johnson 3/18





Total Production Graph


Below is the graph for production figures which include the Mitchell Standard in red, the Mitchell BNC in blue and the Mitchell NC in black. To see these cameras with productions numbers within the graph, just scroll down.


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Standard Camera Production


The graph for the Mitchell Standard Camera appears below. Note the production figures are indicated with the red line.


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BNC Camera Production


The BNC's have a much smaller sample but have the most surviving or recorded instances. Their production was not as affected by historical factors and were relatively easy to place. The BNC production figures are indicated by the blue line and it overlays the red line of the Standard production figures.


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NC Camera Production


The NC's were the last to be charted. It was achieved mainly through the help of one generous individual who gifted the relevant data used to build this graph. The NC production figures are indicated by the black line and overlay both the Standard and BNC production lines. And this is our all models combined graph.


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